Fernwood

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Rating: C

Roughly 30 miles south of Carmel, next to a creek near the Big Sur area's Fernwood Resort and its Redwood Grill restaurant, visitors will find a nude swimming hole with some telltale signs of the hippie era of the 1960s."Look for old couches on the riverbank, naked people, and a river," says Fred, of Pacific Grove."Nobody bothers you."

Legal status:

Unknown.

How to find it:

The beach is about a quarter mile north of the Grill and three quarters of a mile north of Pfeiffer Beach (see next entry), so if you pass either, turn around. Just south of the Big Sur River (see previous entry) on Highway 1, look for St. Francis Church and an old sign on the ocean side of the road directing visitors to the bar and grill. Follow the path that starts at the sign; it will take you down to a streamside swimming hole used by local skinny-dippers.

The beach:

A creekside swimming hole.

The crowd:

"There's usually nobody there," says Fred.

Problems:

Unknown legal status; needs better directions.

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